July 09, 2023
A Planet has Whipped Up Spiral Arms Around a Young Star
When you hear the phrase “spiral arms” you probably think of galaxies. Lots of galaxies have bright arcs of stars that spiral away from their center, including our Milky Way. But not all galaxies have spiral arms, and galaxies aren’t the only celestial objects with spiral arms. About a third of protoplanetary disks around young stars have spiral arms, and we now think we know why. In galaxies spiral arms are caused by density waves within the galactic disk. The density waves create a kind of traffic jam effect, where individual stars drift into and out of spiral arms, but the overall spiral structure is maintained. The spiral structure is further maintained by the higher density of gas and dust in the arms, which triggers star production within the arms. Protoplanetary disks have a similar structure to young galaxies. They are both a flat disk of gas and dust orbiting a massive central bulge. But the difference in scale and age means we can’t simply say that spiral arms in galaxies and planetary disks have the same cause. One model for planetary disk spirals is that they form similar to spiral galaxies. Essentially, gravitational instabilities within the disk trigger density fluctuations that quickly evolve into a spiral structure. The problem with this idea is that, unlike galaxies where stars only interact gravitationally, the gas within a disk exerts pressure which would work to disrupt the spiral structure. Another idea is that the spiral structure is triggered by the presence of a large protoplanet. A Jupiter-sized object within a planetary disk would generate turbulence and a gravitational tug that could cause spiral arms to form, like ripples in a pond. The only problem with this idea is that large protoplanets have never been seen within a spiral protoplanetary disk. That is, until now. Simulation of how a protoplanet could create disk spiral arms. Credit: L. Krapp and K. Kratter/University of Arizona Astronomers have found a Jovian protoplanet orbiting a young star known as MWC 758, which is about 500 light-years from Earth. The planet, called MWC 758c, is about twice the mass of Jupiter and orbits its young star at a distance of about 100 AU, or more than three times the distance of Neptune from the Sun. The spiral disk system has been known for a while, but previous observations showed no evidence of a planet. That’s because MWC 758c is particularly red, meaning either it is very cool or shrouded by lots of dust. Low red wavelengths are difficult for ground-based telescopes to observe due to the thermal noise of Earth’s atmosphere. It took the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI), which specializes in infrared and near-infrared observations, to finally observe the gas giant. The team plans on following up their ground-based observations with observations from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This should provide even more detailed images, which will help them understand how the planet formed and the interactions between the planet and the spiral structure of the system. The MWC 758 system is just a few million years old, but it is otherwise fairly similar to our own solar system. It’s quite possible that the Sun’s protoplanetary disk had a similar spiral structure, which would have played a crucial role in the formation of Earth. Reference: Dong, Ruobing, Joan R. Najita, and Sean Brittain. “Spiral arms in disks: planets or gravitational instability?” The Astrophysical Journal 862.2 (2018): 103. Reference: Wagner, K., et al. “Direct images and spectroscopy of a giant protoplanet driving spiral arms in MWC 758.” Nature Astronomy (2023). The post A Planet has Whipped Up Spiral Arms Around a Young Star appeared first on Universe Today.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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